Books and processes which influence how we create

What inspires us

The way Improbable creates is informed by a variety of books and processes, from within and without the theatre sector.


The Shaman’s Body

Drawing on his shamanic experiences in Africa, Japan and India, the author of this book takes readers on a “death walk” in which our worst fears and most profound emotions are confronted in order to awaken the shaman-warrior within.

To The Actor

Essential techniques for actors, training the body and the imagination to fulfill its potential.

Time to Think

A book that identifies behaviors that contribute to a thinking environment, a model of interaction that improves the way people can think, work and live.

The Radiant Performer

A comprehensive and holistic training programme for singer-actors.


Quantum Mind

A groundbreaking exploration of the principles found in psychology, maths, quantum physics and shamanism.

Pan and the Nightmare

A book that brings the god Pan back to life, showing him at work in and play in the dark drives and creative passions of our lives.

Lessons for the Professional Actor

A collection of lectures and exercises presented by Michael Chekhov at his studio classes in New York in the 1940s.

Open Space – A User’s Guide

Harrison Owen’s seminal introduction and guide to working in Open Space.


Instant Acting

Instant Acting
An outline of Jeremy Whelan’s radical approach to acting, using audiotape recordings to free the actor from the book. Widely used throughout Improbable’s productions.

Impro: Improvisation and the theatre

Imrpovistion for the theatre
Keith Johnstone’s hugely important book of improvisational practice.


Arnold Mindell’s work with coma patients suggests that they are in an altered state of consciousness, adding an important dimension to the legal and ethical debate around near-death conditions.

Impro for Storytellers

Impro for storytellers
Building on and extending the techniques Keith Johnstone described in Impro, Impro for Storytellers suggests exercises that aim to release an individual’s potential within the context of groupwork.




At the heart of all the work that Improbable creates is the philosophy and practice of improvisation. Although not all of our shows are improvised live on stage every night, each will have used improvisational techniques at some point in the creation of the production. Inspired by legendary improvisation pioneer Keith Johnstone (who is also our Patron) improvisation keeps our work alive and responsive to each night’s audience, and fosters a real sense of community and ownership in the companies and teams that make the work.

Process Orientated Psychology

Process orientated psychology is a multi-disciplinary awareness practice created by Arnold and Amy Mindell. It focuses on using awareness to illuminate and facilitate issues within yourself or within a group of people. Improbable use process work in the creation of shows (our show Coma was largely based on Arnold and Amy Mindell’s work with patients in near death states) and we run workshops which focus on translating the practice into a theatrical context (Cooking Chaos).

Open Space

Open Space Technology (OST) was created by Harrison Owen in 1985 and was developed to support groups to self-organise and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations or flit between them all. It’s particularly effective in dealing with complex issues where diverse and conflicted views are present. Open Space underpins many of Improbable’s activities – many of our shows are created by using Open Space within rehearsals, we facilitate conversations in Open Space in our Devoted & Disgruntled programme, we hold two internal Open Spaces each year for our staff team, and have also held Board meetings in Open Space.

Dreamer Realist Critic

Dreamer Realist Critic is a process identified and devised by Robert Dilts based on his analysis of how Walt Disney turned an idea into a deliverable project. The process is divided into three distinct stages: the dreamer (where you dream your biggest boldest dreams with no restrictions or filter), the realist (examining the dreamer’s ideas and thinking practically about how they can be realised) and the critic (picking apart the ideas of the dreamer and the realist, imagining worst-case scenarios). Improbable use this internally as a company, and during the process of making shows.